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Dream On

By Melissa McQuarrie

Though it’s been decades since I graduated from college, every couple of months or so I have the same dream: It’s finals week, and I suddenly discover there’s a class I’m registered for (usually some kind of science class) that I forgot to attend all semester long. I have the textbook—a big one—but there’s no way I can read it, make up all my missed work, take all the tests, and hand everything in before the final, and of course, it’s too late to drop the class, so I’m going to fail. In a variation of this dream, I realize that the class I forgot to attend is the same class I forgot to attend the semester before (thus blowing my chance to replace my “F” with a better grade), and I can’t believe I forgot to attend it again! I always wake up from this dream in a cold sweat (although, now that I’m menopausal, I seem to be waking up in a cold sweat a lot nowadays).

Does this dream sound familiar? It seems to be a pretty common one. As is the one where you’re standing at the pulpit, about to give a talk in sacrament meeting, when you look down and realize you’re in your underwear—or worse, you’re naked. Or the one, common among RMs, where you get called on another mission, but hello, you now have a husband and four children and how are you going to leave them for eighteen whole months? Then there’s the one where you realize you and your husband never actually got married but you’ve been living together all this time and you have four children and how are you ever going to explain this to the bishop? (Or am I the only one who has this dream?)

Studies show that we dream, on average, four to six times per night. My husband has exciting dreams that involve speeding car chases and hijacked airplanes, espionage and karate fights and saving the world from alien invasions. My dreams—at least, the ones I remember—aren’t nearly as fun. What does it say about me that a lot of my dreams lately leave me with clammy palms and a pounding chest?

Take this one, for example: My family and I are trying to make it to the airport, but I can’t seem to get everything packed, and no one is cooperating or helping. I’m running around, gathering clothes, stuffing them in suitcases, but I just can’t get it all done, and then I look at the clock and realize with a sinking feeling that the flight is leaving in ten minutes and there’s no way we’re going to make it. Or there’s this variation of the dream, which has popped up in the last couple of years since we’ve been having financial challenges: We’re about to leave for a trip when I look up and notice our ceiling is leaking. At first it’s just a drip, but then the water starts seeping through the ceiling, running in rivulets to the corners and down the walls, and then the ceiling starts to crack and water pours into the room. I’m trying to find my husband to tell him about the leaking roof—and remind him that we’re late for our plane—but he’s nowhere to be found. I finally find him in the yard, chopping wood (a man who has never chopped wood in his life) and when I tell him the roof is leaking and we have to FIX IT RIGHT NOW and WE’RE GOING TO MISS OUR PLANE he tells me not to worry, that everything will be okay, and goes back to chopping wood. Meanwhile, the house is filling with water and the plane is taking off—and then I wake up in a cold sweat.

I’ve found that most of my vivid or recurring dreams seem to reflect current stresses, worries, problems, or life stages. If we pay attention to them, dreams can help us work through our fears, pinpoint our stresses, identify and resolve tensions in our relationships, and maybe even help us shift directions or make a life change. When I told my husband about the leaking ceiling/missed flight dream, we both realized that I felt he wasn’t paying attention to my concerns, so we had a discussion about that, and I stopped having that dream. Several years ago, when my four children were younger and the only writing I did was compiling grocery lists, I dreamed I was standing on the shore of a wide river, and I saw two friends who graduated with me from the master’s program at BYU—both of whom went on to get their PhDs, while I got married and had a baby—floating down the river in a big raft, laughing and sunning themselves, and I watched as they passed me by. It didn’t take a dream specialist to decipher that one. I knew I needed to find some time to devote to intellectual pursuits, and that started me on a path that, among other things, landed me here at Segullah.

In her memoir, Traveling with Pomegranates, Sue Monk Kidd says, “I think of [dreams] as snapshots floating up from a mysterious vat, offering metaphoric pictures of what’s going on inside. Sometimes the images suggest where my soul wants to lead me and sometimes where it does not, giving me input and guidance about choices I might make.” Kidd keeps a dream journal, a notebook in which she records her dreams and studies them, watching for significant patterns.

So I’ve decided to keep a dream journal too. It takes time and practice to decipher dreams, and writing them down is the first step. And maybe, with enough analysis and some shifts in my thinking and behavior, I’ll finally remember to go to that college class.

And now it’s your turn. What are your recurring dreams? Do your dreams shed light on your struggles and concerns? Do you keep a dream journal? Do you like to analyze dreams? (If so, what does it mean if you’re chewing a huge wad of gum in your dream and you can’t spit it out? Just curious.)

*For a fascinating look at dreams as spiritual gifts, see Barbara Bishop’s essay, “Dreams as Gifts of the Spirit,” in the Summer 2009 issue of Segullah.


About Melissa McQuarrie

(Advisory Board) grew up in Australia and California and now lives in Provo, Utah with her husband, four children, and their dog, Daisy. She served a mission in Peru and has a BA and MA in English from BYU. She loves reading, writing, and quiet afternoons. She does not love grocery shopping. Now that two of her children attend BYU and her youngest children are in high school and junior high, she is trying to adjust to this "emptying nest" stage and still wondering how it snuck up on her so fast.

35 thoughts on “Dream On”

  1. Melissa, what a wonderfully provocative post. I was thinking about my dreams just this morning as I walked our new little dog. I've had the "it's the last day of the semester and I forgot to attend this class" dream many times, and it's always a heart-thumper. Interestingly, I've never had the "I'm in front of a bunch of people and I'm naked/in my underwear" dream. Hmmmm. Guess that's not a big concern of mine. 🙂 My most disturbing recurring dream is that I suddenly remember that I have a baby, but I've neglected to feed or otherwise care for him/her. Most of my recurring dreams, in fact, have to do with somehow neglecting my responsibility to someone or something, which is probably my greatest fear in life–a fear which goes back, I'm sure, to the time I neglected to keep an eye on my baby sister when I was six years old and she wandered into the irrigation ditch and almost drowned. I do think our dreams can tell us so much about ourselves. Oh, and I loved Traveling with Pomegranates!

    P.S. Another recurring dream is that I'm trying to run away from some danger, but I can't move.

  2. For years I had a dream that I was called on a second mission. This happened both before and after I got married and had children. Each time I had he dream I was single. I was not happy about being called on a mission and didn't want to go. That is how I feel about my mission. It was a great experience, but I wouldn't want to do it again as a single. I'm not sure what to make of this dream.

  3. I can't tell you how many times I've had the "getting called on another mission" dream only to realize I'm married and have kids. It's nice to know I'm not the only one that has it. 🙂

  4. Melissa, I could have written this post. I am a huge anxiety dreamer and have versions of the "forgot to go to class" dream and "forgot to get married" dream regularly. I was in plays and musicals when I was younger and occasionally have "just about to go on stage but haven't memorized my lines" dreams too. I either try to write the lines on my arm, or I have somebody in the wings whisper lines to me, then I have to dash on stage and try to remember them–oh, it's agony! I've been having airplane dreams, too, but in my dream I'm supposed to fly the plane and I have no idea how. It's somehow become my responsibility and I'm convinced I'm going to take everybody down with me. I think this one has something to do with parenting. 🙂

    Oh, and my husband? He dreams just like your husband does: action hero dreams, no anxiety in sight. I suppose their psyches know that we do all the worrying for them?

  5. My most common recurring dreams are about trying to get places and not being able to get there (like your airport dream). I've also had a lot of dreams about going back to my mission. Although I teach college and I was in school for a long time, I rarely have dreams about that.

    I do have spiritual dreams and have been told that this is a gift of mine. When I was a teenager, before I got my patriarchal blessing, I actually used to worry that something was wrong with me or that they were somehow weird. I am learning to tell the difference between the two types of dreams and now they are generally a comfort to me.

  6. Sharlee, a friend told me once that the finding-yourself-naked-in-public dream means that you are afraid of being exposed for your true self. Hmmm, not sure what that says about me, but you must not have that fear. And I've had that neglected-baby dream many times! I, too, have the fear of not fulfilling my responsibilities. And I also have that paralyzed-but-unable-to-run-from-danger dream as well. Another one is trying to scream but your voice only comes out in a whisper. Btw, congrats on the new dog!

    Andrea and rk, it's interesting that many RMs have that dream of being called on another mission. I've had rk's version of the dream in which I'm single while being called on another mission; I always have a sinking feeling because in the dream I am 27 (the age I was when I got married) and I'm worried I'll be too old to get married when I get back.

    Angela, I've started having that haven't-memorized-my-lines-and-it's-time-to-go-out-on-stage dream just in the last couple of years. I even wrote about it in my post but deleted it because the post was already too long. In my dream I end up going out on stage and just making up dialogue as I go. At first it goes okay—I'm ad libbing confidently and the audience doesn't know I don't know my lines. But then the actors around me start looking confused and I become more and more flustered, and I know that any minute now everyone will know that I have no clue what I'm doing. I think this dream has something to do with parenting teenagers. =) And I think you're right about the husband/action dream thing—I'm the worrier in our partnership, for sure.

    Here's another recurring dream I have: I'm trying to call someone on my cell phone—it's always something urgent I'm calling about—but I keep punching in the wrong number.

    Okay, so I've had pretty much every dream that deals with some sort of anxiety. =)

  7. FoxyJ, I'm glad you brought up spiritual dreams. I wanted to reference Barbara Bishop's article more in my post but ran out of space. But Bishop contends that most of us are missing out on opportunities to have personal revelation by not paying enough attention to our dreams. She says, "There are many people who rarely recall their dreams and have never experienced God’s tender mercies in dreams. Attitudes toward dreaming from prophets and apostles have been consistently positive, but few take the hint and seek the information their own dreams contain." And, "God has ensured that the information He gives is as close as the pillows we sleep on. Like other forms of revelation, we have to ask and then wait for understanding. If we trust that God’s love manifests itself in dream narratives, spending time with them will yield the equivalent of a banquet table, overflowing with spiritual food that we can partake of regularly."

    I'd like to develop this spiritual gift more.

  8. I love dream deciphering! Every year I've taught high school, I have a dream that I am pregnant and have to hide the pregnancy, since a single pregnant woman is setting a bad example for her students. I don't know what that one means, though…

    A couple of weeks ago, I had a dream that I feel was preparing me to be ready to let go of my job (or at least some of the million responsibilities I've taken on) if I meet someone who wants to marry me. Little things have happened this past year that have renewed my hope that I'll find a great guy, and I'm pretty sure this dream was one way Heavenly Father was telling me that my job cannot be my only reason for living.

  9. My least favorite recurring dream is a packing dream, kind of like yours. It gets more frequent and more alarming as I get closer to a big trip, and I have obsessive dreams about making sure I have my ipod and enough snacks and then I get to the airport and I've forgotten something crucial but my siblings are goofing off so we're late and I'm going to miss the flight and there's no time to pack. The dream started up again as soon as I got back from my most recent big trip, though; this time, I had to unpack my suitcase (which I still haven't done–sorry, Mom) and repack it so I could go to San Francisco, and then when I came back I magically had two suitcases that needed unpacking. What a nightmare. I'm guessing the interpretation is that I hate packing, which is true. Lovely post, Mom.

  10. I loved this post! I have had every one of those dreams–and I thought I was the only one! My husband can't even remember his dreams. I think it's because he has the usual "one track man mind." When he's sleeping, he thinks about sleeping, and that's it. When I'm sleeping, I'm thinking about my frustrations and failures; when I'm making lunches I'm thinking about my church calling; when I'm visiting teaching I'm thinking about remembering to send in those forms I filled out for somebody to play on the soccer team. I envy my husband sometimes because he has that ability to think about one thing at a time, and everything else is shut off. But that also means he can't do everything like I can. This whole topic of dreams is so thought-provoking! Great post.

  11. I started having a (very) recurrent dream soon after I got married that I was single and looking for a husband, then I remembered that I was already married, felt bitterly disappointed, and woke up. I quit having that dream when I worked some things out about my expectations of marriage. (I'm married a great guy by the way but I had WAY off the chart expectations for awhile.) Over the years I have had quite a number of dreams that I know are revelations. The most vivid was when my 7th child was two weeks old. I dreamed I was already pregnant with another child–a baby boy and that we had already decided on his first and middle names–both names we had NEVER even considered. It was so real and vivid that when I woke up I KNEW it was a revelation and felt pretty sure that not only was there to be an 8th child for us but that he would be a boy. He was, and we did end up naming him the two names I dreamed about. Now that I have gotten to know him (he's almost three) I really wouldn't be surprised if he didn't have something to do with that dream. One of the Joseph F. (or Fielding) Smith's talked about dreams and said that sometimes he can tell if a dream is a revelation, but not always. I figure that if even a prophet isn't always certain, then I shouldn't feel too bad when I can't always tell either. (I reminded my friend of this when she dreamed she had triplets that grew in her kneecap. ;))

  12. I have that college dream all the time. It's usually math or science and I LOVE the feeling of relief I have when I wake up and realize it's not real.

    My variation of the stage dream is that I'm sitting in the audience at the symphony and I look down and see that I'm supposed to be performing a concerto after intermission that I've never even practiced, let alone memorized. I go to a practice room and try desperately to cram the music into my head until I realize I'm about to make an enormous fool out of myself. I LOVE waking up from that one, too.

    I have had one spiritual dream. I'd never had such a vivid dream. I woke up suddenly from the dream with my heart pounding at 5 in the morning and knew I was supposed to figure out what it meant. One of the characters oin the dream was a guy with a patch over one eye, and I knew that was important. I've never been one for dream interpretation, but when I looked up the symbolism of a one-eyed man, it meant danger. The dream absolutely did mean danger and I listened. It helped me through a challenging time.

    My mom (who doesn't dream) lately dreamt that I would have another baby. I told her that was impossible (because it is) but she's pretty determined her dream meant something. I told her some dreams are just dreams…

    I have thought about asking Heavenly Father for the spiritual gift of dreams, since I think it's definitely a way for me to communicate with Him, but I'm also not sure I am ready for more revelation. 🙂

  13. Melissa!

    Thank you for writing this piece. I've had so many dreams lately and my inner self knows I need to write them down but I haven't yet. Ever since I read Barbara Bishop's essay I was fascinated and enlightened how dreams can be guides and some part of our self or our Heavenly Father communicating with us. It's such a crazy concept but I think there are truths in dreams as well.

  14. How funny, I have the same "forgot to go to class" and "forgot to get married dreams." But I also have one when I'm really stressed where one of my teeth is suddenly loose and it starts to fall out, then suddenly more and more teeth fall out and I have a mouthful of teeth that I have to spit out. Strange and stressful, but easy to link to times of stress.

    But the one that kills me is my smoking dream. I somehow have a cigarette and I'm frantically smoking it as fast as I can before I get caught or something. What is that all about? Having never smoked, and disliking the smell of smoke, this dream is hilarious and so weird to me!

    The one insightful dream I have ever had was just after we got married, I dreamt of holding a baby girl on my lap. I looked at her and did a loud "oh!" sigh and must have done it in real life because it woke me up. It took us years to get pregnant and our first baby was born almost 5 years after that dream, but it was such a clear, real dream that it stayed with me as a little nugget of hope that I would have that baby girl some day. And I did! (She is 6 now and has a little brother and 2 little sisters too)

  15. Mary, I've had a smoking dream too! Only one (that I remember), but it was very vivid. I remember inhaling deeply feeling the smoke hit my lungs and the nicotine hit my blood. It was a simultaneous rush of energy and relaxation. Many people in my family struggle with substance abuse (my grandpa smoked most of his life, and many others have had drug/alcohol addictions), and I took this dream as a sign that substance abuse would be a huge problem for me if I ever tried anything.

    I've written some of my dreams down but I'm inconsistent about it. I love the concept, though.

  16. I've had 3 recurring dreams in my life. In high school and college it was a dream where I would "wake up" and all these people would be there standing and staring at me, because I had been hosting a party at my house and just decided that I was tired so I went to bed, but then wake up to everyone watching me sleep and looking like, "Um, hello?! You're the host!"

    One summer after college when I was working in Alaska, I had a recurring dream almost every night that people were trying to find me (like bad people) and so I was hiding from them, and then they were about to find me, but I couldn't get out of where I was because it was dark and I couldn't see where the door or windows were. My poor roommate(s) were always getting woken up by me screaming out.

    My recurring dream during my 15 years of marriage is that somehow my husband is trying to "off" me — not personally himself, but either with a hit man or with an elaborate laser booby trap around the room at night, while he sleeps peacefully next to me. These dreams have quieted down a lot in the last 4 years, since I've adopted the attitude of "Whatever. Go ahead and kill me, but just don't wake me up. I want my sleep!" And then I resume peaceful sleeping. (Yah, doesn't take much to see what's behind this dream; but I don't know how to fix it.)

    I had a very vivid dream this week about going to Argentina with my husband, who I think was getting sucked into some deal with The Mob. There was this one couple from my ward there — in matching grey sweatshirts with some sort of gold foil flower print all over them and gathered/puffed sleeves (very funny on the man!) and another woman from my ward, who ended up getting head-butted to death against an underground parking garage wall by this wierd looking zebra, while at the same time, my husband disappeared with 2 or 3 of these mob guys, and all I had with me was this stupid wallet on a small shoulder strap. Weird, weird, weird.

    I generally hate my dreams.

  17. I've had the "getting called on a second mission" dream several times.

    I've also had the "forgot to attend a class and now it's finals" dream many, many times. And, since I was a music major, I also frequently have the "oops, I'm playing a recital and forgot to practice, ever" dream. I've also occasionally had dreams that I'm starting a grad school music program again and leaving my family behind to do it. I know that for me, these are because I have a lot of unresolved feelings about what I've done (or haven't done) with my music degrees, and I often feel very inadequate when I compare myself to some of my friends who graduated in the same field.

    I do not believe that I've ever had a "spiritual" or revelatory dream. Well, OK, just once. I have a sister-in-law who stopped speaking to my dh and I when we got engaged because she was mad at us for breaking up her nuclear family. (True story! And a very long story for another time…) Anyway, I've struggled with challenging feelings toward her over this for many years, and things have always been tense between us. Once, after an awkard visit where she was present, I had a very vivid dream that she came to me and begged my forgiveness for how she had treated me. I woke up feeling like someday that day will come, and I need to be prepared for it by not harboring angry feelings in my heart. In the dream, I was able to instantly forgive her and welcome her into my life. I want to be able to do the same in real life as well.

    I am always a bit envious of people who have spiritual dreams regarding family planning or future children. We've dealt with infertility our entire 16-year-marriage. We now have three children, but I've never had a dream about any of it, and I always wished for that kind of comfort.

  18. This post (and the comments) has been a lot of fun to read. I had no idea how common some of these dreams were–I've had the RM, failing class, neglecting children, and not being married dream. Another recurring dream I have is one where my husband and I are still dating but he's losing interest and I hate the desperate feeling I get from that dream (by the way, I don't think that reflects real life, except possibly my insecurities. At least, I hope not!).

    My husband doesn't dream much–strangely enough, my anxiety dreams are equally balanced with bizarre adventure dreams (like Harry-Potter-esque magical dreams, etc). I don't know what that says about me, except possibly that I live a boring daily life . . .

  19. I loved a boy very much who dumped me. It is now fifty three years later and I still dream about him and how much he loves his wife. The rejection was/is horrible.

  20. "Or the one, common among RMs, where you get called on another mission, but hello, you now have a husband and four children and how are you going to leave them for eighteen whole months? "

    Yup. Have had this one several times. I never really knew that there were general patterns as well as personal ones. Interesting.

  21. Whenever it's the end of the month and money is tight I always have a dream that reminds me of the quote my mother told me; "it's just as easy to fall in love with a poor man as it is to love a rich man". With my husband switching places between being poor and rich.

    Last night for example (it is the end of the month of course), he was the rich guy while the other guy was poor. In my head I actually had the discussion of "I love the poor man, but the rich man can take care of me" and eventually sided with the rich man.

    I would like to think whatever position my husband plays I always choose him in the end but I can't recall the ending to the other dreams, only that I woke up feeling guilty knowing one of my expectations of marriage is being taken care of and that if it were unavailable my belief in the relationship would crumble. Apparently I can be bought, and I need to work on it as no one ever gets rich by being in the military.

    Thank you Melissa for this post. After sharing the dream with my husband this morning and not feeling fulfilled, it is nice to be able to come here and know I'm not the only one that uses dreams as a way to express frustrations over situations.

  22. It's been so fun to read your comments today and to hear about your dreams! I find it so fascinating that many of us have had the same dreams. And I envy those of you who have had spiritual dreams—warnings or indications of something to come. I really want to try to develop that spiritual gift.

    Kylie, my dear, it sounds like we both abhor packing and unpacking. =)

    Mary C., out of curiosity I googled dream interpretations and looked up your teeth-falling-out dream and I came up with a couple of possible meanings: 1. Since teeth have a lot to do with appearance, losing your teeth in your dreams could indicate an anxiety over your appearance or growing old. Interestingly, the site I consulted said that the teeth dream is more common among menopausal women. 2. A fear of being embarrassed or making a fool of oneself, or feeling unprepared for the task at hand. 3. Since teeth are used to bite, tear, etc, and therefore symbolize power, losing your teeth could reflect a sense of powerlessness or lack of self-confidence in one of your relationships. Hmmm. Given that I've had just about every other anxiety dream, I'm surprised I haven't had this one. Maybe my mouth-full-of-chewing-gum dream is related to the teeth dream somehow?

    Melissa Y., I loved your interpretation of the smoking dream as a spiritual warning of a potential problem with addiction. How insightful of you to interpret it that way.

    Strollerblader, I found your dream with the zebra in it both amusing and strange. I'd like to see a Dali painting of that one.

    Eljee, I loved that dream about your sister-in-law. Sounds like there's a potential for healing in your relationship, and the fact that you are being prepared for it is a sweet gift from a loving God.

    Rosalyn, I've had a similar dream about my husband. In my dream we're married, but then we find out we're not really married after all and my husband is relieved and leaves. You're right, I think it must be insecurity.

    Cher, your comment tugged at my heart strings. Oh, that painful feeling of rejection! It does embed itself on one's psyche, for sure.

    NewlyHousewife, I'm glad you were able to use your dream to express a concern/frustration to your husband. I think dreams can definitely help bring some of those feelings to the surface—all the better if we can discuss them.

  23. Interesting post and comments. Amazed by the many similar dreams out there.

    My recurring dreams when I was younger were most often about driving. From the time I was maybe 4 or 5 years old. I would find myself in the car, but somehow be able to drive it just fine. This went on for years. Later, my most frequently occuring dreams turned to action/adventure types where I am usually trying to protect one or more family members and I can fly.

    I have no idea what this means. Maybe I secretly wish I were SuperGirl, though I think Wonder Woman is cooler. 🙂

    I woke from a dream with a number in my head on the morning we began house hunting for the home we live in now. I knew the number was what we would pay, which was more than we had planned on. I told my husband to make it work with our budget and I would cut where I needed to. We ended up paying $500 more than my number and it helped me feel at peace that this was where we ought to be. Four years later and our home has lost value, but I feel comforted by the sureness of our original decision.

  24. Wow, I seriously thought I was the only one who had the "I haven't made it to my math class all year because I couldn't find the class — and didn't look very hard" and the "we've never actually been married, we're just living together." I usually dream about houses. Big, small, messy, spotless. If I could remember the floorplans (and could draw) I would draw them the next morning.

  25. Oooh, interesting. I've had the missed the class dream, the teeth falling out dream, the trying to get ready to go somewhere but never made it dream, a smoking dream (what? I smoke? I gotta quit now!), the being naked or partially naked in public dream, being chased by something/someone dream…

    I saw a documentary that said dreams were the way our brains ordered the information we learned during the day, or tried to learn. Maybe these common themes that many of us are sharing indicate that there is much in common that we all have to learn in this life.

    I also get dreams where I'm hovering in mid-air like a helicopter. Those are cool.

  26. I rarely remember dreams and when I do they are very innocuous every day stuff. My best friend has countless horrible nightmares.
    I prefer my really lame dreams to going to sleep and having everyone I love die or go through horrible stuff all the time. Who'd want to go to sleep and experience that?
    Only recurring nightmare is the teeth crumbling and falling out.

  27. Fun post! I just woke up and read this after having dreamed about taking my family to Peru to see where I went on my mission. I woke up at a part where they were just seeing dirt floors and some of the extreme poverty. It was at a tiny Catholic mass. Before that we were at a party place that was owned by one of my old boyfriends who looked at me longingly while I held hands confidently with my husband. Funny.

    I have had the RM dream many times! It is always so sad to leave my babies and I worry how my husband will take care of them! So funny to hear it is common! What does it mean?

    For awhile (I think during our remodel, or maybe it was when I was RS pres) I had action/adventure hero dreams where I was the one saving people.

    I've had a few spiritual dreams. One of my mission before I went. One telling me I needed a husband's help to reach heaven: the stairs leading there became increasingly narrow and everyone needed a had up to pull them along. It was my "husband" (before I had one) who pulled me up. And I dreamt of another little blond baby boy, Christopher Elijah, who hasn't come yet…so at 44 and 5 kids I'm still not sure I'm done!

    I'll have to read the Barbara Bishop piece.

    Thanks for this post!

  28. I've had the teeth dream many, many times. Sometimes my teeth are falling out, other times they're yellow or crooked. Usually these come at a time when I feel powerless or a loss of control, so that interpretation certainly fits.

    I had a dream during the first few weeks of my mission that I certainly believe was a spiritual one. I dreamed that I was already home and that everyone was asking me how my mission was and to tell them about the people I had met. I was so distraught and humiliated that I didn't have anything to tell them. I took that as a lesson to make the most of every day.

  29. After the births of my first 2 children I had postnatal depression. Badly. The baby and I were cool, but I couldn't deal with the rest of the world at all. Both conceptions were achieved by reproductive technology,and both deliveries had complications, the second nearly killed both of us. When anyone asked if we were having more children I would comfortably respond that I would rather die. I'd go on to explain (if it was that kind of conversation) that no, I hadn't prayed about it, because I wasn't ready to accept the possibility my will was not His, but that I was sure if Heavenly Father needed me to know different, He could change the way I felt.
    Can you guess what happened next?
    One night I dreamed a dream, and in that dream were 2 children, and they were mine, only they were not the children I already had. I loved them with a fierce urgency in my dream. When I woke up I started to tell my husband about the weirdly intense dream I had just had, was really shaken to discover the feelings of the dream were still with me now that I was awake. I needed my 2 extra children, It was like the sky had suddenly become green and the grass blue the world had changed so much over night.

    There's more to the story, but I have all 4 of my children here now, and I know that dreams can be a powerful force! There is no way I would have had more children without such clear and dramatic revelation, and I'm so glad I've had them!

  30. Well, what fun reading about dreams and the people who dreamed them. I've just returned from a dream conference in Europe hosted by the International Association for the Study of Dreams. I'm glad to see that the topic has sparked some interest. A few comments: the spiritual gift of receiving revelation from dreams can be developed, by 1) keeping a dream journal 2) asking for divine guidance in understanding the dreams 3) telling trusted friends, family members about the dreams 4) expecting (having faith) that dreams will provide guidance. Many dreams that do not seem to be "spiritual" actually have a spiritual component to them, especially recurring dreams. I've been amazed at how often dreams I wanted to dismiss as a little "nothing" turned out to be spiritually significant. Pregnancy dreams are often about new potential, transformation, new growth, rather than actual pregnancies, although actual pregnancies and children also bring about new potential. The dream about not being prepared for the test (which I have had, countless times) is very often dreamt by people who were very good students, and did prepare for their tests at school. I friend of mine, an attorney, had that dream after the birth of her third child. She didn't feel prepared to be the mother of three children, and feared failure as a mother, not as a student or an attorney. The "teeth falling out" dream, another common dream, often has to do with a failure to nurture ourselves. We literally sustain ourselves (eating) with teeth, so when teeth are falling out in a dream it may mean that the we either aren't feeling taken care of (nurtured) or are not taking care of ourselves appropriately. And sometimes it means we need to head to the dentist! When I have the dream where I'm doing all of the packing, and nobody else is helping, it often signals that something similar is going on in my family. The chore list seems to only have my name on it. Chibby, my mother dreamed of her 8th child three times before deciding to get pregnant. She argued with God about having an 8th child a few times, but then decided to follow the revelation. I know she was glad she did. Dreams are wonderful!

  31. Barbara, thank you so much for chiming in and for shedding light on some of these dreams we've been discussing. I found your interpretation of the teeth dream particularly interesting—they need to add that one to the web site I googled. And I had a feeling that the packing dream had something to do with feeling like I'm carrying more than my share of the load at home—that one fits, too.

    And thank you for your suggestions for developing the gift of receiving revelation through dreams. I'm going to practice!

    Chibby, I loved your story—I wanted to know more! What a testament to the power dreams can have in our lives, and the direction they can provide.

    This has been such a fascinating discussion. Thank you, again, to all of you who have commented.

  32. I have that dream where we having been living together with kids and never got married. So what do you think it means?

    Some times I have the same dream so many times that I have a hard time remembering if it is a dream or real life and I have to check with my husband.

  33. I want to state up front that my suggestions are ONLY suggestions. I don't know what anyone's dream means–I'm only offering speculations. My mother, who had 8 children, and was often overwhelmed with having so much responsibility, sometimes dreamed that she was 40, single, and longing to marry. She would wake up thrilled to have her life, with all of its challenges. Sometimes we dream the opposite of what is, as a way of balancing what feels like an imbalance in our lives (comes from Jung–he called them compensation dreams). I wonder if the dreams of being unmarried, living together, having somehow in our dreams forgotten a belief system, covenants, God, responsibility, etc. stems from being so entrenched in a belief system, so over-responsible, so covenant oriented. If those were my dreams, they might mean that maybe I don't always want to be Primary President, a visiting teacher, a shining light to my children, my neighbors, etc. Maybe I've got just a touch of 1960's free love, peace, live and let live hidden underneath the deeply religious person that I am. In graduate school, one woman's response to learning that I was Mormon was, "Really? I thought you were a hippie." It was probably the Birkenstocks, not anything I had said or done. BUT . . . people who are creative, who long to write, who secretly wish they could write like Jane Austen or George Eliot will probably dream some manifestation of a "free love" dream. Dreams of love affairs, even lesbian/gay love affairs, often have that longing for freedom to create beyond the Relief Society lesson or primary sharing time.

  34. Barbara, that is very interesting. And here I was all this time thinking that the living together dream was just a vestige of my years in YW—oh the guilt, the horror of discovering I've been breaking the law of chastity all these years!



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